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How To Spend Your Tax Refund

Posted by David Jones on Apr 15, 2021 10:30:00 AM
David Jones

1-2Happy Tax Day! Or so it would be in a “normal” year…but while there has been much pining for normalcy over the past 13 months or so—and some progress has been made—we still have a ways to go. So “Tax Day” for 2021 officially ends up on May 15 instead of April 15. Another month to procrastinate about getting your taxes finished and filed…and another 30 days to ponder what you’re going to do with all that refund money!

Hopefully, anyway…not everyone gets a refund because some people didn’t pay enough “as they went” and end up having to cut a big check to the federal government every spring. According to IRS data, though, the average refund is about $3,000. That got me thinking…what can a person do with $3,000 of “found money?”

Season Tickets for Local Sports

We are based in Chattanooga and our “professional sports teams” are the Lookouts minor-league baseball team and the Red Wolves and Chattanooga Football Club soccer teams. We could get a pair of season tickets to all 3 teams for about $3,000.

This would be a great support to local teams, as well as local employers, making it a doubly-worthy thing to do with your refund dollars.

Throw a Block Party

Just about everyone has spent enough time inside their homes in the last year. As people get vaccinated, get brave, and emerge from sheltering-in-place, wouldn’t it be great to re-engage with your neighbors by throwing a big block party?

If you can split some of the costs with a few likeminded neighbors you can make the dollars go even further. Hire a band to come play for a few hours. Serve some great food…burgers and dogs, for sure, but think about roasting a whole pig, smoking turkey legs, or hiring your favorite food truck to cater the event. Get the bouncy houses for the small ones and the cornhole boards for kids of all ages. A few thousand dollar could go a very long way to creating a party your block will talk about for years to come!

Invest in a Small Business

Recently I started noticing ads on Facebook for investing in a local brewery. Maybe a place dedicated to creating craft beer isn’t what you want to invest in, but think about the type of businesses you could be passionate about…and how you can help them succeed.

A decade ago it may have been difficult, but today there are multiple ways to put your money to work, helping others in your community, and potentially providing a great long-time return.

Buy Supplies for a Local Animal Shelter

A couple years ago, I found that my local animal shelter had a list on Amazon of the products they needed. Mostly it was food for the various animals they housed, but there were other dog and cat toys and training aids, as well. That way you can choose to send those items that speak most to you. Add them to your Amazon cart, check out, and they are sent directly to the shelter without you having to go drop the goods off yourself.

If your local shelter isn’t using this tool, you might suggest to them that they start. And that goes for whatever other local charity you might want to support…homeless outreach, veterans assistance, cancer support group…it’s a great idea to just ask for what the specific items you need and give people an opportunity to buy them for you.

Your Turn…

Those are a few things that can do with the extra cash to make yourself feel good, encourage others, and enrich your community. If you get an extra $3,000 to spend on something cool and/or fun, where would your money go?

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